Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Day it Couldn't be Done

The computer screen had to be lying. It was my first semester of college and there was a letter staring back at me I had yet to see on a report card. F.

Turns out the excuse of having to work instead of turning in assignments didn't fly in the collegiate sphere. I asked myself then how anyone earned a degree.

Two semesters later (and after a short break) I achieved my first ever 4.0.

On another night, I wondered if the crying would ever end. I sat on my couch holding my oldest child while the tears dripped and dripped down my face as he screamed. I had no idea what I was doing, and I didn't think I ever would. 
In my mind, there was NO WAY anyone really had more than one kid. It wasn't possible.
But then I did it. And now I have four. It's still hard, but there are too many good moments to count.

For years I would sit at my computer, and start book ideas. Worlds constantly tumbled around my head, and there was no relief except to put it on paper. The only problem was, as much as I wanted to write a cohesive story I had no idea how. It wouldn't be long until my words turned to nonsense and I would quit.
It was impossible for me to write a novel. I knew it because I had tried and failed. 
Until one day five years ago. A little niggling had taken over my head, and I felt forced to sit down and write the story about a girl who could shake the earth.
Never before had I written forty-thousand words. It was amazing! For once I was going to write a whole novel. I could do it. I would do it. 

To commemorate my success, I started this blog. I was going to publish a book, I was determined. 

But I never did. 

Once I started editing I learned a new "truth." Publishing was thing I couldn't overcome. 

Unlike everything else I'd done, I would never stop telling myself this lie. For five years, this has been my rhetoric. 
It didn't hit me until this morning.

In the middle of my run a reoccurring leg cramp seized me, rendering me unable to do more than walk. I wondered then how anyone completed a marathon. I thought of my father who had not only run many marathons, but also run a 100-mile race through the mountains.  

Another memory gripped me hard, one that made my stomach turn so painfully my leg cramp felt like nothing. It was my father laying on his bed while my mom massaged his legs. 

My gaze turned heavenward as the truth slammed my gut. My father didn't stop running because it hurt. I still went to school after failing. Having a difficult child didn't keep me from having more children. Not being able to finish one novel didn't stop me from finishing seven others.
The only thing keeping me from hitting publish is myself, and that lie I've believed for five years. 
This is where it ends. I have one novella written and two others plotted that I will be publishing this year. 
There will be days when I know it will suck. There will be critiques I'm not sure I'll be able to overcome. There will be times when I want to give up. But I won't, because I'm through with lies.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Road. A Family. And Some Zombies.

It's been a while since I've talked books on here. Mostly because I haven't been blogging, but also because I won't promote a book I'm not 100% behind. This is one of times. My dear, dear, friend David Powers King has released THE UNDEAD ROAD and let me tell you, it sounds like all kinds of awesome!

Some of my favorite memories are from family road trips where things went terribly wrong, and this book sounds like it'll bring all those happy fuzzies back, AND have some zombie action thrown into the mix.

I already know David is an awesome author. Heck, we even wrote an anthology together. I can't wait to get this book in my hands! (Seriously paperback is only $10.99? He might as well give it away. Oh wait, EBOOK IS $.99. He is giving it away.)

With no further ado, here's the premise:

Nothing brings the family together like a zombie apocalypse …

Fifteen-year-old Jeremy Barnes would rather watch a zombie movie than shoot a real one, but he has no choice if his family wants to survive the end of the world. Their plan? Drive across the infected United States to a cabin in the Colorado Rockies without a scratch, but their trip takes a complicated detour in the middle of Nebraska when they find Kaylynn, a girl who can handle a baseball bat better than Jeremy can hold a .45 Beretta. And when they stumble into a sanctuary, Jeremy soon learns that Kaylynn is stronger than she looks—a deadly secret lies inside her.

After the radio picks up a distress call from Kansas City about a possible cure, Jeremy’s parents go with a team to investigate. They never return. The only way to find their parents is for Jeremy and his sister Jewel to rely on a dangerous girl who might just turn on them at any moment.

Go buy it off Amazon today!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

That Self-Discipline Thing

My two oldest kids go to an excellent Karate studio where they learn about a new value each month, and memorize scriptures to strengthen them. This month's theme is self-discipline. My kids had to fill out a chart for a week in which they needed to do things like chores and karate practice, as well as keeping a positive attitude, and respecting family members.

If my kids are working to improve themselves, I figure I should be doing it along with them. When it comes to writing, I'm lucky to have a lot of support. Even though I tend to let self-doubt get in the way a lot, I know there are many opportunities to battle the blues.

Photo by Gratsiela Toneva
Gratsiela Toneva

One such awesome friend shared this challenge with me, and I've decided to take part. My goal is to write one thousand words Monday-Friday. I've missed today because of other blogging commitments, but I'm confident I can make it up tomorrow.

I hope you'll all take a look at the Ruby Slipper Sisterhood challenge and make your own goals. Happy writing!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Writing..and Stuff.

Wow. It's been six months since my last blog post. *wipes brow* I'm happy to report I'm still writing. It's iffy some days, but I always come back to it. I just wanted to do a quick update to let you know, I've...well...updated.

Turns out the last time I changed my tabs was two children ago...which means at least three years. Yikes! My twitter handle has changed along with some other things, so you might want to check it out.

I'd most notably like to turn your attention to the new cover design and blog banner tab. I'm still doing free covers, so if you're in the market, take a look! (And thanks Alex for the shoutout last time, you're awesome!)

What's new with you? Any resolutions you want to share? Me? I'm going to write every day Mon-Fri. And yes, I'm already struggling. But the only direction from here is up, right?

Friday, June 5, 2015

Summer + Writing = Anxiety

It's officially summer break which means all three of my little devils munchkins are home all day, every day. It's alright, people, really, it's not as terrifying as it sounds. Just take a deep breath and read on.

As most of you know, this September I'm planning on releasing my first full length novel, What Not to Do When You're Falling in love. Which means I can't take the summer off to spend each excruciating sweet moment with my pumpkins.

All you moms out there, just settle down for a minute. I know the thought of working from home while your kids destroy everything you hold dear sounds painful. It actually is, but that doesn't mean your kids can't have a little fun along the way.

Like every other mom on the internet, I don't want my kids to spend their summer days in front of the TV frying their brains, so I've come up with a solution that allows my kids to have a great summer, and me to get some work done.

I present to you:

This is the part where I write a disclaimer saying I don't know everything. Also, each family is different and these tips won't work for all. They can be modified, however.

These tips come in two parts.

I've assigned activities to each day, so my kids know what to expect during the week. We live in south Texas, so it's really hot. Which is why most of these things are inside.

Monday: Library Day. We get all the books we want and the kids get to be out of the house to play.

Wednesday: Water Day. This is the day my kids can play in the wading pool in the backyard or get the sprinkler out. Sometimes we'll also go to the pool or a splash pad. This is mostly so I don't have to deal with swimsuits every day this summer.

Friday: Craft Day. This is the day my kids are allowed to get out the finger paints, and the shaving cream, and the glitter glue. I'm not stifling their creativity and I don't have a giant mess to clean up every day.

Tuesday & Thursday: Mommy's writing days. I've also cleverly called these days pajama days. My kids are allowed to stay in PJ's and I usually make them a breakfast for lunch. It's fun, and I get to WORK. They know I will be writing these days, so it's expected.

Now, just having these things assigned doesn't mean my kids won't still beg to watch TV all day. So here's part two:

Before my kids are allowed any screen time (or even before they're allowed to do their activities), they must have the following completed.

1. A clean room with their beds made.

2. Dressed with hair done and teeth brushed.

3. 20 minutes of reading.

4. 20 minutes of math games/ problems.

I could do all of these things in a hour, but it usually takes my kids a good three hours because they play in-between. I'm not complaining.

So there you have it. That's my plan for summer. It won't all go perfectly, but at least I have a starting point. Happy summer!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A List of Irrational Thoughts and a Book Review

Trust me. The following post is not a joke. It's 100% real.
March was a hard month for me. Really, really hard. Most of March included irrational thoughts such as:

1. I hate writing. I hate reading about writing. I hate thinking about style, and process, and eventual publishing. HATE.

2. I started writing almost four years ago, and I'm pretty much in the same position I started in.

3. I should just quit. Nothing I do is ever going to be good enough, or worth it in the end.

4. Time to cancel my flight to Utah in May. No point in going to a writer's conference when I'm quitting.

5. Everything I have ever written is trash. I'm sorry to anyone who has look upon my words, because they're all terrible.

So yeah...I'm still not 100% over it, but I'm not completely giving up either. Although, I haven't worked on anything in almost three weeks. As you can imagine, this troubled time has made it hard to read as well. Here's the one book I read in March:

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
This book. Gah, this lovely, lovely book. Honestly, this book is so well written nothing should've kept me away from the turning the pages. I usually avoid the second book in a series because they're not that great. That is not true for this book. I love it.

The storyline is genius as well. The way she brought together two seemingly separate characters and tied their stories up. Just... phenomenal. Not to mention how kick-a the girls are in this book. Loved everything about it. I'd highly recommend this series!

That's it for now. I hope everyone had a better March than I did!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

February Mini Reviews

This post is late, but it's here! I didn't quiet reach my goal last month, but I did read, which is the whole point of the challenge.

Woven by David Power's King and Micheal Jensen
David was the very first blogger friend I had the opportunity to meet in person. That was three and half years ago. He told me his book was called Woven, and that it was about a ghost that could be stitched back to life with a magic needle. Naturally, that was the coolest thing I had ever heard of, and I was dying to read it.
But I had to wait. I almost got read to read it a year and a half ago...then they switched publishers in series of FORTUNATE events. Anyway, the book was everything I expected it to be and more. I loved the world Michael and David created, and I haven't read a High Fantasy in a long time. It was fantastic!

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
When I was at the bookstore seeing if I could get my hands on Woven early, I decided to pick up a
few books, and this was the first one I read. Mostly, I wanted to read it because it's a bestseller, and therefore I can learn from it. I also LOVED Fangirl. I love that book so hard. But this one...I liked Fangirl more, sorry! This was good. The characters were interesting, and I liked their relationship, but, I dunno. Fangirl is closer to my heart, I guess. Even if this book did have a beautiful Korean boy in it.

*FYI* This book contains a lot of swearing.

Silent Beauty by Krista McLaughlin
Okay, I'm cheating a little on this one. The book isn't out, so don't bother looking for it. I just happened to have the privilege of reading this book, as a beta reader, again. The story is about a mostly-deaf girl and the cute nerd she falls in love with.
I'm certain Krista will find success with this book in the future, because the premise is just too cute. I love it.
(and I made this cover, BTW)